By Marcia Moore
The Daily Item
MILTON — The district judge seat in Milton will finally be filled on a full-time basis in 2014, two years after it was vacated.
Northumberland County Board of Elections Director Alisha Herb said Wednesday that the $86,639 a-year position will be on the May 21 primary ballot.
The seat was initially vacated in early 2011 by District Judge William F. Kear, who retired after 25 years on the bench one year after he was re-elected to a six-year term.
Soon after, District Judge Robert J. Bolton was relocated from his Sunbury office to the Milton court. In February 2012, Bolton also retired.At the time, Senior District Judge Richard P. Cashman of Centre Hill had been filling in another Sunbury district court following the sudden July 2011 death of District Judge Carl B. Rice.
Cashman has been serving as a temporary replacement in the Milton office since Bolton’s retirement.
“He’s done an extraordinary job. We’re happy to have him, but the people require a full-time district judge,” Northumberland County President Judge Robert Sacavage said.
In addition to the lack of a full-time district judge in Milton, Sacavage said another pressure on the county judicial system is the state’s decision to reduce the number of district courts in the county from five to four in the wake of Rice’s death and the retirements of Kear and Bolton.
The election of a full-time district judge for a six-year term will likely lessen the burden on the courts and help move cases along more swiftly through the system, he said.
Herb said two potential candidates have already picked up petitions and one person has inquired about the process, Herb said.
The first day to circulate and file nomination petitions is Feb. 19 and the last day to register before the spring primary is April 22. The general election will be held Nov. 5.